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Horse Racing: Horatio can damage George's reputation; 'A strongly-run mile here will suit Horatio Nelson well'.

Byline: MICK KINANE

I'M expecting a big run from Horatio Nelson in today's Stan James 2,000 Guineas. But I rate George Washington as very much the horse to beat.

I've won this Newmarket classic three times. But it's a long time since King Of Kings did the business in 1998.

And I'm hoping that, if GEORGE WASHINGTON doesn't perform, or misbehaves, HORATIO NELSON will be there to take advantage.

Horatio Nelson did very little wrong last season and having won the Grand Criterium at Longchamp, was unlucky to lose his unbeaten record in the Dewhurst when traffic problems cost him.

He was only beaten a neck by SIR PERCY. So there's every reason to believe he can beat Marcus Tregoning's colt today, even if the vibes are very positive about the former.

In every way, Horatio Nelson is a very interesting ride for me. He's a Group 1 winner, unlucky not to be unbeaten and, while his form suggests that he'd appreciate ten furlongs, or further, a strongly-run mile up Newmarket should suit him well.

He looked a real pro last year and seemed to relish a battle. And the word from Ballydoyle is that Horatio is in very good order, but that he'll come on a good bit for the run.

But, realistically, George Washington holds all the aces, based on his two-year-old form and the positive stories that have been coming from Ballydoyle over the last few weeks.

He's reportedly working very well and, as I see it, the others have to improve on their two-year-old form if they hope to beat him.

He's been favourite since early last season and he should be very, very hard to beat.

There is a question about George Washington's temperament and some people are questioning how he'll cope with the trip to Newmarket and the wide-open spaces.

But they're forgetting that he made his debut at this meeting last year, when he met with his only defeat.

If George Washington does things right today, I think he'll win. But, if there are any mishaps, Horatio and Sir Percy look the horses that could avail of the opportunity.

The favourites for tomorrow's 1,000 Guineas will all be making their seasonal debuts RUMPLESTILTSKIN, FLASHY WINGS, NANNINA and RACE FOR THE STARS.

And my mount, Brian Meehan's DONNA BLINI is having her first run too!

Donna Blini was a very progressive filly last year and did well to follow-up her Cherry Hinton win in July by winning the Group 1 Cheveley Park after a lengthy break.

I haven't ridden Donna Blini this spring but Brian is very happy with her and tells me that she has done well over the winter and is much stronger now.

She did all that was asked of her last year and, in many ways, winning a Group 1, and beating Flashy Wings in the process, was a bonus.

My concern ahead of tomorrow's race is that she was very keen in her races last year. And, having her first run back, I fear she might be a bit free tomorrow.

If she is, she could be bang there going into the dip, but might not get home. Stamina could be a problem.

But she deserves to be in the line-up and should give me another good spin in a race I've never won.

Rumplestiltskin, a dual Group 1 winner, deserves to be favourite.

She displayed an impressive turn of foot last year and, if she has trained on, she sets a high standard.

The other Ballydoyle runner Race For The Stars looked an exciting prospect last year. So there might not be a lot between Aidan's two fillies.

But the filly I like is Tommy Stack's ALEXANDER ALLIANCE, I an impressive winner at I listed level last year after chasing home Art Museum on her debut.

CAPTION(S):

HORATIO NELSON: Unlucky not to come to the Guineas as an unbeaten horse' O'BRIEN: Top pair
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 6, 2006
Words:658
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